I met someone on a day much like today. She wasn’t kind, and she wasn’t someone I wanted to let in. Something about her was off, threatening and heartless, but on the other side of my front door, she kept knocking and calling for me.
I tried to ignore her, hoping she’d give up and leave. I closed my ears and busied my eyes, but her presence was all around me and my home. She made it clear that she wasn’t leaving until I invited her in. She had nowhere else to be and no-one else she’d rather spend some time with.
She’s not the type I would normally let in, or invite into my home. I could feel into the very core of me that she was trouble. I knew, when I first saw her that we wouldn’t get along and I sensed we had nothing much in common. She appeared as though the life was drained from her, and there was something in her eyes that unsettled me, leaving me with an uncomfortable vulnerability. Her voice was high-pitched and her persistence was met with urgency.
I tried to make excuses for net letting her in. I asked her to reschedule. I questioned whether she had the right address because I had never seen her before. I tried to tell her that I was busy, I had errands to run, people to catch up with, phone calls to make, messages to send, a house to clean, a load of laundry and a trip to the stores. She said she wasn’t leaving until I gave her my time.
So, I stepped aside and invited her in. Only, it wasn’t for a few minutes or an hour. Once I let her in, she became comfortable in my space and wouldn’t leave. She shadowed me during the day doing day to day chores. She was there when I took a bath, avoided a phone call, took a nap, and especially at night, her presence was overwhelming and she wouldn’t stop talking, reminiscing and reminding me of my failures. She was so loud at night and when I placed my hands over my ears, her awful voice grew louder and louder in my head. She wouldn’t keep quiet, and wouldn’t let me sleep.
She was in the passenger seat while I was driving, in the store when I was pushing a cart, in the kitchen when I was cooking and in the living room while flipping through channels.
She was overbearing, hurtful and unkind. She wouldn’t let met breathe without her. She took away all the things I valued, cherished and loved to do. After a while, she kept me home, hid my perfume, hair brush and make-up. The laundry piled up, but she didn’t care. The dust moved in when she did, but she didn’t care. She brought me to tears more often than not, and took away my dignity, hope and joy. She stole what was important in my life from me and she made me question everything I thought I knew. She told me over and over again that God had forgotten me, and that she was in control whether or not I liked it. I had invited her in.
She said that I was a failure as a human being, a daughter and a sister. She said there were things that I just should have known, but I couldn’t even do that. She said that I was ugly inside and out, and that my tears were too late. Wisdom came too late for me. A hard heart took too long to soften. It was just too late for me.
She spoke for me. She changed my routine to place me at my most vulnerable. Each day she spent with me, her grip on me grew stronger and stronger.
She just wouldn’t let go and controlled more and more of me until one day, when I thought I was drowning in her shadow, God stepped in, and brought in a little army who overpowered her, and banished her from my home and my life.
They stood watch until I was able to free myself from the misery she cast over me. She left, reluctantly. Humiliated and defeated. She left and I was finally freed from the prison she locked me in for months. I could breathe again. For the first time in months, I didn’t hear her voice when I closed my eyes. I slept. I could sleep. I dusted and did the laundry. I took a walk around outside and took care of the autumn leaves. I messaged friends. I spoke without a restricting lump in my throat.
She left and it all just hits differently now.
I pray for mercy for the next home she gets her claws into. If you let her in, remind her that she is nothing more than a guest in your home. Kick her out when she overstays her welcome and remember, she lies.
Her name is Grief.